Share this entry

Share this page

trivial

Line breaks: triv|ial
Pronunciation: /ˈtrɪvɪəl
 
/

Definition of trivial in English:

adjective

1Of little value or importance: huge fines were imposed for trivial offences trivial details
More example sentences
  • Even if the case is of very little importance, involving trivial loss, seeking truth from facts shall always be the norm for action.
  • There are several lessons to be learned from this incident, some trivial, some quite important.
  • And the pressure to conform to all these trivial values is absolutely enormous.
Synonyms
unimportant, insignificant, inconsequential, minor, of no/little account, of no/little consequence, of no/little importance, not worth bothering about, not worth mentioning;
meaningless, pointless, worthless, idle;
flimsy, insubstantial
informal piddling, piffling, penny-ante
British informal twopenny-halfpenny
North American informal nickel-and-dime, small-bore
North American vulgar slang chickenshit
1.1(Of a person) concerned only with petty things.
Example sentences
  • A few hecklers managed to get in during this period but they were quite trivial.
  • Mary is an amiable, conventional, and trivial young woman who gets married.
  • Sometimes he presents her as a vain and trivial woman, sometimes as merely ignorant and fearful.
Synonyms
frivolous, superficial, shallow, unthinking, empty-headed, feather-brained, lightweight, foolish, silly
2 Mathematics Denoting a subgroup that either contains only the identity element or is identical with the given group.
Example sentences
  • Next in complexity to the trivial ones are the mazes represented by trees.
  • In group theory one of the topics he studied was that of groups with only trivial automorphisms.
  • The first topology is a trivial one, just stating the genes are allelically identical.

Origin

late Middle English (in the sense 'belonging to the trivium'): from medieval Latin trivialis, from Latin trivium (see trivium).

More
  • Latin trivium meant ‘a place where three roads meet’, and it is from this that we get our word trivial. Medieval universities offered a basic introductory course involving the study of three subjects—grammar, rhetoric, and logic—known as the trivium. The earliest uses of trivial relate to this basic, low-level course, with the main modern meanings, ‘commonplace, ordinary’ and ‘unimportant, slight’, developing in the late 16th century. The plural of Latin trivium has also entered English as trivia. A crossroads, a place where not three but four roads meet, has a similar metaphorical relationship with crucial, a word which means almost the exact opposite of trivial.

Derivatives

trivially

1
adverb
Example sentences
  • The first paper is about survey participation, in which the hypothesis is seemingly trivially obvious: people who like to do surveys in general and who are interested in the survey topic are more likely to participate than others.
  • Secondly, and most trivially, if you extend her argument she is effectively saying that she's only doing it as a public service; she's not going to get any personal gain or gratification from it.
  • After all, it's trivially simple to find lots and lots of places where modern medicine has failed to explain or treat someone's illness.

Words that rhyme with trivial

convivial

Definition of trivial in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day cumbersome
Pronunciation: ˈkəmbərsəm
adjective
large or heavy and therefore difficult to carry…